Health Anxiety And The Rebound Effect Part 2

So through part 1 you have now pinpointed whether or not you truly have hypochondriasis (health anxiety), and you’ve also learned more about what I like to call the rebound effect (if you haven’t read part 1 I suggest you go back and read it before carrying on). So the question now is what do we do about it? How do we break the neverending cycle that the rebound effect and our health anxiety is causing you? To answer that question I should share with you a quote I heard once that has stuck with me for a while and that quote is:

Only those who have patience to do the simple things perfectly, ever acquire the skills to do difficult things easily.

So today after reading this post our goal is to start simple, master those simple things, take control of what is adding to our health anxiety and hypochondriac state, and overcome your health anxiety one small step at a time. So are you ready? Let’s go!

True Progress

The first thing I want you to do is grab a piece of paper and put a line right through the middle. On the top of the left side of the paper I want you to write down True Progress, and on the other side of the line I want you to write down A Cycle Of Coping. I want you to think back to some of the times when you’ve felt free from your health anxiety worries, some of these times could be when you were hanging around a certain friend, a certain job you were involved in, a certain activity that you did, a sport that you were commit to. This will take some effort from you to go back in time slightly, and remember what caused you to feel like you were in a different state through your body and your thoughts.

A Cycle Of Coping

On the right side of the paper you have the title A Cycle Of Coping, and on this side it’s time to think about and rid yourself of the things that keep you moving in circles around your health anxiety condition. this list could contain things you do unconsciously that you are just now starting to realize is adding to the rebound effect and your health anxiety cycle. But we need to bring them out into the open if we’re going to stop your health anxiety once and for all. You could add things like turning to my ‘safety net’ (other anxiety sufferers online) for reassurance every time a new symptom of anxiety appears, calling my family doctor to set up an appointment, taking an anti anxiety medication every time I feel like I’m spiralling out of control, researching my new symptoms of anxiety online through search engines like Google or other anxiety groups.

This list is a huge step forward, but I’m warning you now some of the things you add to this list you won’t like. But you deep down will know they should belong to the cycle of coping list simply because this has been your comfort net for so long, and yet you are still in the same hypochondriac state as you were in weeks, months or even years ago. The realization of what feeds your health anxiety, and what prevents you from falling into the cycle of coping is going to be a powerful exercise and you deserve a life better then this… don’t you?

This could be the most important 10 minutes of your life

I don’t want you to rush this exercise, I want you to think it through and fully realize what’s helping you and what’s hurting you. Letting go of some of those daily comforts such as turning to ‘DR Google’ for answers for example, could be difficult at first but in time you’ll see just how much stress and anxiety you’ve let go of simply by following through with your list.

Don’t forget to hang the list on your fridge door, or a place where you’ll run into it in your home

You have to be reminded of this list consistently, so make sure that it’s visible. Each time you are tempted into doing something from the cycle of coping list don’t punish yourself, but just realize and understand that this was the old you. To begin the changes you truly want deep down it’s time to completely rid yourself of the list on the right and fully commit to the list on the left, only then will freedom from your anxious thoughts and your health anxiety condition begin to manifest.

Give Yourself A ‘Mini Vacation’ To Overcome Health Anxiety

What an unpleasant thing to live with, health anxiety. What’s even more troubling is the fact that traditional treatments for health anxiety simply don’t work very well. I remember going to doctor after doctor, emergency room after emergency room due to my symptoms of anxiety and the intense fear that a real physical problem was present. I was given a clean bill of health over and over again and was told that my problems were mental, but no ‘professional’ got to the root of the problem. The root of the problem of health anxiety is adrenaline. It’s a simple formula: intense worrying + a mind and body that won’t relax = an increased cycle of adrenaline which leads to health anxiety.

During my six years of health anxiety, I didn’t relax even for a second. In fact, I forgot what feeling at peace and having a calm body and mind felt like after a while. I would often begin by focusing my worrying on something which would cause my adrenaline-fueled ‘fight or flight’ response to kick in. This adrenaline response always had a series of physical symptoms: pounding heart, shortness of breath, tingling in my hands and feet, and dizziness. I would instantly worry that these physical symptoms were indicating a heart attack or a stroke. Even though this always happened in the same way, I would convince myself that I was going to die as a result of these feelings, and would race to the nearest medical centre or emergency room. It was taking over my life and ruining my career and my relationships. I had to do something to change this course in my life. I did a lot of research on adrenaline; I finally was able to take this problem in hand and came up with a solution to stop this crippling cycle.

The key to stopping the adrenaline cycle that is causing your health anxiety is taking ‘mini vacations’ throughout the day. Here’s what I did: I began with 3 ‘mini vacations’ per day (planning is key) – one in the am just before breakfast, one at lunch and one just before going to sleep at night. I realized that this was the ‘me time’ I needed, far away from anything that needed to be done, whether that was with work, tennis training, relationships or whatever. I took the 10 minutes of freedom that I gave myself and used it to do progressive muscle relaxation, acupressure, squeezing a stress ball, sitting and listening to classical music etc. The key for me was variety during my ‘mini vacations’ from the adrenaline cycle that affected my health anxiety. As soon as I felt the worrying or physical sensations coming on, I would find a quiet place and take this time away for myself.

The more I took my ‘mini vacations,’ the better my health anxiety got. But as mentioned earlier, planning is key. Why? Because people who suffer from generalized anxiety and, more specifically, health anxiety can become quite impatient and require quick results before saying that something just doesn’t work. They become so fed up with their condition and just want to move on with what’s important in their lives. Can you blame a health anxiety sufferer for wanting results now? So, plan out what you will be doing during your time with your mini vacations during the day, look at it as a long term ‘plan,’ and watch your levels of adrenaline that fuel your health anxiety lessen as time goes by.

Dennis Simsek is the founder of the popular End The Anxiety audio program that has helped many overcome their an